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Bikaner - The Sandy Sphere

Bikaner holds a secondary rank amongst the kingdom of Rajputana. The desert town of Bikaner is becoming more and more appealing to travellers as it holds the attractions like Bikaner Fort, camel safaris, Karni Mata Temple where thousands of holy rats are worshipped on the world map.
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Awesome and Beautiful Bikaner !!!
As far as eye can see, rippling sand and scorching sun expose the vision of appreciation. Bikaner is an influential district nestling in the north west of
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Rajasthan, bound in the north by Sri Ganganagar and in the west by Jaisalmer and Pakistan, is lying at a distance of 243 km from Jodhpur.

Rao Bika was the descendant of Rao Jodha, a renowned ruler of Jodhpur (1459 A.D), who asked his son to leave Jodhpur and established his own kingdom. Rao Bika then chose a barren land in the harsh desert of Rajasthan and named it as Jungladesh, which was later shaped into an impressive city and earned the name of Bikaner. This desert city holds a secondary rank amongst the principalities of Rajputana. It was an offset of Marwar region.

Factroid
Do you know, before making it to Bikaner, Rao Bika first gathered a force of young warriors, whose restless energy proved to be the motivational power in encountering the hazardous desert. Hence in 1465 birth of Bikaner took place.
Like any other city of Royal state Rajasthan, Bikaner is situated on an elevated ground, surrounded by a seven kilometer long embattled wall and guarded by five massive gates. In the heart of the valley, a beautiful Ganga Canal is formed, build between 1925 to 1927. It was constructed to meet the irrigation requirements in and around Bikaner. This captivating district of Rajasthan will surely brush you with memories of ancient times, as one behold its architectural wonder, superb carvings, royal palaces, rich havelis, religious temples and ornamental gates, which is no doubt, seems like a wizard of great magic on desert. Bikaner has always remained untouched from the outside influence of powerful rulers. The town is blessed with the extremely old lofty houses, that represents skills of excellent carvings in the medieval times. Bikaner is also famous for its delicacies like Rasgullas, Bhujias and Papads.

Getting There
Airways : The nearest airport to Bikaner is at Jaipur, lying 320 Km far, from where the tourists can take RSTC buses or even hire taxis to access Bikaner. It takes an hour to reach Jaipur from Delhi by flight. Once in Jaipur, it takes 7 hours drive to reach Bikaner. There are frequent buses that ply to Bikaner.

Railways : Bikaner has well connected rail network to the cities of Rajasthan and India. The Bikaner district is connected with Howrah by broad gauge and with Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Sri Ganganagar, Agra and Bhatinda by metre gauge railway line.

Roadways : Bikaner is well linked to the National Highway No.11, connecting Bikaner with Agra also ends in Bikaner itself. The district is well connected with metallic roads with all nearby district like Jodhpur, Nagaur, Churu and Sri Ganganagar. Some of the important distances from Bikaner are Jaipur is 320 km, Delhi is 615 km, Ahmedabad is 945 km and Mumbai 1496 km.

Bikaner Glorious Attractions !!!

Junagarh Fort
This large imposing Junagarh fort was constructed by Maharajah Rai Singh, a sixth ruler of Bikaner dynasty, who ruled between 1571 to 1612 A.D.
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The wealth and power of the king was flourishing in all the near by regions of Marwar, so he used to collect revenues from half Marwar and half Gujrat, thus made ample use of funds to construct this landmark on the face of Bikaner. This magnificent fort has a 986 m long wall with 37 bastions, a moat and two main entrances to the fort. Despite the fact that Junagarh Fort doesn't command the hilltop position in the desert, like the many other grand forts of Rajasthan, but it has never been conquered by any enemy. The Maharajah tenure with the imperial service offered to Mughal Emperor Akbar, taught him the visions and great ideas about the art and architecture, according to which these ideas were incorporated in the architectural styles of his building in Junagarh fort.

Factroid
Do you know, the Junagarh Fort of Bikaner built by Maharajah Rai Singh, though not perched on a hilltop, has never been conquered and the credit goes to its planners and architectures.
Lalgarh Palace !!!
Another thrilling architectural masterpiece of red sandstone is Lalgarh Palace, nestling 3 km in the north of City Center Bikaner. It was originally built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh, which took 24 years to construct this splendid palace. The mega structure of this alluring palace is a superb example of original Rajput architecture. Its outlook was originally designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, with the advise of whom it was possible this building became a wizard of artistry. This palace is blessed with several grand halls, lounges, cupolas, pavilions, magnificent pillars, richly carved fire mantles, Italian colonnades and motif of lotus in full bloom. Whereas the walls of the palace are embellished with vintage etchings, hunting trophies and old portraits. The treasure trove where the guests can spend hours 'walking in the past' of Bikaner.

The palace also houses a museum and a library, which is fourth largest in the world. The palace has beautiful lattice and filigree work, sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and the dancing peacocks make it a not to be missed visual treat. Bikaner royal family still lives in part of the palace. Whereas little portion of the palace is now converted into a small Hotel.

Do You Know
According to local lore, Maharajah Karan Sing while travelling to Golconda in Andhra Pradesh met an artist, who showed him some fine works in gold. Maharajah was so impressed with his proficiency that he asked him to construct the ravishing Anup Mahal inside Junagarh Fort. Exquisite artistry of the palace with gold leaf and floral motifs still testifies the skill of the great artist.
Roof of Divine Temples !!!
There are two main Jain Temples "Bhandasar" and "Sandeshwar", located in the south east end of Bikaner. The Bhandasar Jain Temple is dedicated to the fifth Tirthankar "Sumtinath" and the construction of the temple was started in1468 A.D by a wealthy Jain merchant, Bhandasa Oswal. According to myth, it is said, that 40, 000 kg of ghee had been used in laying the foundation of this temple. It is carved in red sand stone and white marble, famous for its carvings , paintings, structural beauty and artistically designed statues.

Whereas, the Sandeshwar Jain Temple is adores with the marble image of Sandeshwar and other Jain Tirthankars. This attractive Sandeshwar Temple is far famed for its superb carving around the doors, columns and painted pillars.

Another fabulous attraction just behind the Bhandasar Temple is Laxminath Temple. It was build during the resign of Rao Lunkaran between 1505 to 1526 A.D. This holiest shrine of Hindus is one of the oldest temple in the rich soil of Bikaner. Laxminath was the deity of Bikaner dynasty and was worshipped since Bikaner earned its name. During the festivals a royal procession of devotees converge on this historical temple. Number of elaborated edifice are build with the help of villagers and more than five villages contribute their tribute to this religious understanding. This alluring temples has number of shops, which were once granted to the temple by Maharajah Ganga Singh between 1887 to 1943.

Do You Know
It is said that 40,000 kg of ghee (butter) was used to water the mortar in Bhandasar Jain Temple, which locals insist that still seeps the walls on hot days.
Bikaner Excursions !!!
Bikaner is adored with delightful temptations near to its surroundings. Number of temples, lakes, towns forms a natural attractions in the minds of viewers.

Karni Mata Templ - 30km
One of the most renowned temple near Bikaner is Karni Mata Temple, situated in a small town named as Deshnok, located 30 km in the south from Bikaner on Jodhpur road. This beautiful town is known for the shrine of Karni Mata. According to legends, Karni Mata once blessed Rao Bika (founder of Bikaner) to establish his kingdom here and will always be safe from enemies. This temple is unique in its own way, scores of Rats are venerated here and the shrine is like a home for them. It is believed that these Rats are children of the goddess, who inhabit the town of Deshnok. Thus , these Rats are treated sacred and they freely move in the temple grounds. It is considered highly auspicious to sight a white Rat.

Devi Kund Sagar - 8km
Next, the tourist can visit is the Devi Kund Sagar. Which has a royal cenotaphs located at a distance of 8 km, lying in the east of Bikaner. This royal crematorium has several cenotaphs of Bika Dynasty rulers. Which were built in memory of the deceased members of the ruling family of Bikaner. The white marble chhatri of Maharaja Surat Singh is of the most impressive.

Kolayat, A Famous Pilgrimage of Hindus - 51 km
However, Kolayat should not be missed, which is a famous pilgrimage spot for Hindus across the world, nestling 51Km far from Bikaner on the highway leading towards Jaisalmer. Its a beautiful religious ground blessed with series of charming marble, sandstone pavilions, temple with its 32 serene ghats built around a impressive artificial lake, that never dries in any season. At the time of Kartik Purnima (Full Moon), huge fair takes place, when hundreds of Sadhus and pilgrims taking a holy dip in its lake, thus cleanse themselves from the sins they committed in life. Even the cattle fair takes place at the same time, one can trade for Camels in the festivals.

Devi KundLalgarh PalaceKote GateBikaner FortRats at Karni Mata Temple, BikanerTower of Junagarh Fort, Bikaner
Laxmi Niwas Palace Hotel
Laxmi Niwas Palace Hotel
5 Star Palace Hotel
Feast your eyes with the warmth and beauty of Laxmi Niwas Palace Hotel, which boast an array of modern facilities and great amenities to satisfy millions of tourists every year. The magnificent red sandstone palace hotel, which is a stunning example of Anglo-Scenic style also showcases the marvelous 'jali' work on stone (lattice) that can be seen out here.

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The Karni Bhawan Palace Hotel
The Karni Bhawan Palace Hotel
Heritage Palace Hotel
The impressive Karni Bhawan Palace Hotel is none other than a royal retreat for visitors. It is a luxurious palace hotel, showcasing a brilliant art of deco style, with the flourishing wealth and memorable hospitality at your service. A tourist must plan to stay at Karni Bhawan, to get the glimpse of old Mewar paintings, original Bikaner photographs and period furniture.

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